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‘Arrow’ Season 4 Premiere Review: ‘Green Arrow’ is Born

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[FULL EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD – Don’t say I didn’t warn you!]

Who’s going to die in six months?!?!

Normally, we try to ease into our reviews and not skip to the end of the episode right off the bat. But after the season premiere of Arrow, I’m guessing most (if not all) fans are focused on that question right now. The end of the episode jumped forward six months and showed Oliver standing over a fresh grave. Barry (!!!!) joined him and apologized for missing the funeral. Oliver vowed to “kill him” (the person responsible, not Barry). And then just when it looked like the camera would pan to show us the name on the gravestone, the screen faded into the title card (Rude!).

Could this be a stunt that will lead to the death of someone we know and kind of like in six months, say Nyssa or Lyla or even Amanda Waller? I think we all know the writers are capable of that. Or would it be better if it was one of our favorites like Laurel or Thea or Digg or Felicity? No matter who’s in that grave, we’re going to be talking about this and agonizing over clues and guesses until the truth is revealed. Well played, writers. For a show that’s usually showing us the past, leaping into the future is a nice change of pace, and making us worry about the characters until we know who we’re losing? That’s cold, but also awesome because it’s different and terrifying at the same time.

Now that we’ve gotten the ending out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of “Green Arrow.” Last season closed with Oliver telling Felicity he was happy as they drove off into the sunset together. Months later, they’ve settled into a house in the suburbs and are living in bliss without a care in the world. Oliver’s planning to propose and Felicity’s dealing with the fallout of inheriting Ray’s company. Back in the renamed Star City, Digg, Laurel and Thea are working together to battle the villains, but they’re finding themselves outnumbered. So Laurel and Thea take a trip to suburbia to ask Oliver to come back and help. He’s hesitant, but Felicity’s all for it.

arrow-401-green-arrow-03Once they’re back in Star City, Oliver realizes Felicity’s been helping the team out for months without telling him. I liked this development almost as much as I enjoyed the look on Felicity’s face when their neighbors suggested checking out schools for their nonexistent children. I expected Oliver to be the one who had a hard time letting go of his old life, but after watching the episode, it makes more sense for Felicity to be the one bored out of her mind in the suburbs. There’s no question she loves Oliver, but that doesn’t mean she wants to give up her quest to make the city a safer place. And while he might be ready for marriage and family, it she might not be there yet and that’s okay too. Felicity’s younger than Oliver and she doesn’t have the same life experience he does. It’s smart that Oliver slowed his roll a little and hid the ring for the moment (one step at a time).

Not everyone was waving the welcome home flag. Digg’s still furious about what Oliver did to Lyla (can’t blame him even if the lady in question understands). He uttered some harsh words to Mr. Queen about how he’s dark on the inside and incapable of love (ouch). Oliver didn’t have much time to recover from that emotional blow before Detective Lance (I know he’s Captain now, but he’ll always be Detective to me) arrived on the scene to blame Oliver for all the city’s problems. Both men managed to land their verbal blows and diminish some of Oliver’s happy glow, but I was okay with that (especially Digg). I like that we’re getting a lighter version of Oliver, but that doesn’t mean everyone should just pretend the past never happened. He needs to earn Digg’s trust back.

While we’re on the subject of Lance, holy twist – he’s apparently working with Damien Darhk. Before we get into that, I’m a little confused as to when he stopped being mad at Laurel? They weren’t on good terms by any means, but they were better off than in the finale. They had a blink and you missed it conversation about things being better, but really? The writers spent all that time separating them just to sweep the beef under the rug? I don’t approve of that. But maybe it’s all part of the ruse that led him to working for Damien in the first place? I thought it was suspicious that he didn’t even attempt to pull out his gun when Damien interrupted the meeting. At this point, the Captain seems like the most likely candidate for that fresh grave.

Damien Darhk is not a metahumans, but he has some kind of magic powers (I know nothing about the comic character). That’s going to be a huge problem for our team of heroes. So far, I’m not overly impressed with him because I’m getting a similar vibe to Ra’s (RIP). He travels with his own group of minions, he’s big on blowing up things…but he has magic and not just a Lazarus Pit so we’ll see (I have yet to meet an Arrow villain that I don’t side eye so maybe it’s me).

arrow-401-green-arrow-05Last, but far from least, Thea’s having a little too much fun beating people up and riding motorcycles and leaping into danger. Laurel and Oliver both picked up on it and Oliver tried to have a talk with his sister, but she didn’t care much for her absentee brother’s advice. Digg refused to agree with Oliver other than to land another blow by saying she reminded him of Oliver when he first started. AND Digg kept his knowledge of HIVE secret so there’s probably going to be even more tension between the two of them (Also, that’s below you, Digg. Being mad is one thing, but potentially putting more people in danger by not sharing intel? You’re better than that).

Oh, the flashbacks – they remain my least favorite part of the show. This year, we’re in Coast City where Hal Jordan lives and if you were paying attention, you might have caught the glimpse of the name “Jordan” on a bomber jacket (I’d probably be more excited about Hal if Ryan Reynolds was joining the cast). Anyway, Amanda Waller showed up, drugged Oliver, had some guys put him on a plane and tossed him out of it over the island. Once he was on the ground, someone with a gun showed up and wanted to know who he was. Yawn (Sorry, but I just cannot find any enthusiasm for any plot that involves that wig).

Finally (for real this time), as the title suggested, Oliver put on the new costume (courtesy of Cisco), worked with the team to stop a speeding train from destroying a brand new station (by blowing up the train, obvs.) and then took to the public airways to declare himself the Green Arrow with a new mission to keep the city safe. All in all, a solid episode that did a nice job of making sure all of the cast members had something to do other than stand in the background. The show feels like it received a jolt of energy and that’s a good thing going into a fourth season. Now if only they’d ditch those flashbacks…

(WHO IS GOING TO DIE IN SIX MONTHS?????)

 

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.